Time : 3 hours
Discover the scenic Wessenden valley, ancient woodlands and deep upland reservoirs.
This route takes you to the scenic Wessenden valley, with ancient woodlands and reservoirs, on the Pennine Way and Standedge Trail close to the watershed and above Swellands reservoir.
Detailed History Notes
As well as the main Map Leaflet or GPX and MPA digital files (below), you can also download a fuller set of history notes for this route. These were researched and supplied by Marsden History Group for the original version of this walk, first published in 2012.
Click here to download > Swellands walk detailed history notes
How Tricky Is it? - Swellands
This walk is graded as Difficult
Longer walks around 5-16km.
These walks require a good level of fitness, crossing hilly ground or moorland with rising and falling levels. Paths may be rough and uneven, with some steeper slopes or longer sections of ascent and descent.
Walking boots and warm, waterproof clothing essential.
The Full Directions - Swellands
From the Railway Station, go down Station Road towards the village centre.
At the junction, take the right fork, crossing the bridge over the river onto Church Lane (church on your right).
Leave the road as it bends up to the right, and bear left along the road between the houses.
Pass the Old Cobblers on your left, cross the river and continue under the road bridge to your right.
Join Fall Lane and continue away from Marsden to the roundabout.
1Cross the roundabout onto Binn Lane
Walking up the Binn Road, 290m after the last housing on your right, you pass many steps leading down the damside.
Here stood Ottiwells Mill, run by William Horsfall. In 1812, he was shot by the Luddites. Three men were later hanged for his murder.
2Take the wide track ahead on the right
Continue along the track with Butterley Reservoir on your right, passing the spectacular listed spillway.
Note the Yorkshire Water information boards near the top of the spillway, installed in 2017 following remedial work.
3Continue to Blakeley Reservoir
Stay on the main track, passing a ladder style on your right. Cross a cattlegrid and 50m past the embankment pass through a gate in the fence on your right, and down a track beside the reservoir.
Blakeley Reservoir was constructed in 1903 to supply water to Huddersfield.
4Continue on the path for 700m
5The path crosses a stream, and climbs a steep stepped slope.
6Cross the small bridge and the embankment.
Turn left and continue to follow the flagged path until you arrive at a kissing-gate. Continue, pass through another kissing-gate. As you descend you cross a stream and arrive at a standing stone.
Ahead is Redbrook Reservoir
7Do not continue on the path to your left.
Instead, go straight ahead, keeping the standing stone on your right, and almost immediately drop down to a raised causeway. Turn right to follow this path across a stream.
The route continues past a pond on your right, through a cutting, and over a conduit that goes under the path. You will pass a number of smaller tracks off to the left.
You are on the 1815 “Second” Wakefield to Austerlands Turnpike Road
81 km after crossing the stream, turn sharp left (almost back on yourself).
Follow the broad path and drop down to ford a stream.
Turn right, cross a bridge over another stream, and clibm up a broad path to the road.
Turn right along the road for 140m to reach a junction with a road on your left.
As you cross the second stream examine the structure of the old stone bridge. In 1852 a house called “Old Bridge House” stood here.
9Take the road to the left (Old Mount Road)
After 50m take the broad track which leads off the left towards Hades Farm. Continue along the track for about 800m.
This is the route of the First Turnpike, constructed by John Metcalfe around 1759.
10Reach a stone bard on your right.
11Turn left down Old Mount Road.
The Foundlers, London workhouse children brought to Marsden to work in the cotton mills at the start of the 19th century, lived at Throstle Nest or nearby.
12Cross the road.
Go downhill and past the church on the left. At the junction, turn left onto Station Road and follow it up to the railway station.
Opposite the church is the site of the former church built in 1758 to replace an earlier chapel. Notice the old gravestones, and family tomb of Enoch Taylor, ironfounder.